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Games and Amusements Board (GAB) Baham Mitra expressed optimism that provinces that reverted to modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) would have their quarantine status downgraded to a less strict general community quarantine (GCQ) so that professional athletes could resume their practice.

"Sa tingin ko, mag-i-improve at tingin ko, makakapag-practice na tayo (The way I see it, the situation will improve and we can resume our practice) in two weeks’ time," Mitra said in the online Philippine Sportswriters Association forum.

He based his optimism on what he saw on Monday when people rushed to the grocery stores, markets, and banks to prepare themselves for the quarantine imposed in Metro Manila, Bulacan, Rizal, Cavite, and Laguna.

"Kung napansin nyo kahapon, parang nag-traffic. Tapos lahat ng bangko at groceries, puno (If you noticed yesterday, it looked like there was heavy traffic. And then all the banks and groceries were full). It looks like nobody wants to get out of their homes in a week or two weeks’ time," Mitra said. "Tingin ko, na-alarma ang lahat ng tao (I think the people were alarmed)."

Professional athletes living in areas under MECQ, especially the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA), Philippines Football League (PFL), and Chooks-To-Go Pilipinas 3x3 players, were getting ready to resume their training as soon as next week when President Rodrigo Duterte on Sunday night placed the areas back to MECQ following a "timeout" request from a group of doctors.

But with how the people acted on the eve of the return to MECQ, Mitra expressed his optimism.

Based on the joint administrative order set by GAB, the Philippine Sports Commission, and the Department of Health, professional athletes could return to practice in areas under GCQ, although in small groups.

The PFL and Chooks-To-Go Pilipinas 3x3 are eyeing bubbles for their season in Carmona, Cavite and Calamba, Laguna, respectively.

The PBA, on the other hand, already ordered its players to undergo swab testing later this week but with the latest development, it was postponed to sometime later this month.

The PBA board will decide in September if its postponed season would push through or not.

For now, in provinces under MECQ, only individual activities, such as jogging and biking, are allowed. 


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